Stephen Mark Martinez – was born in Ponce Puerto Rico and moved to Baton Rouge at the age of three. Martinez attended East Baton Rouge public schools from kindergarten to 12th grade. During his senior year, he dropped out of school due to poor grades and obtained his GED a year later. In 1996, he began his career in law enforcement in the Baton Rouge area and found his calling as a public servant. Two years later, he took on a second profession as a firefighter also in the Baton Rouge area where he, to this day, serves the public on both fronts. In 2001 he joined the U.S. Navy Reserve, and shortly after 9/11, he submitted several request to leave the Reserves and enter Active Duty. He married his current wife April in December of 2001 and received his Active Duty approval the following month, serving on Active Duty until 2005. Upon being honorably discharged, he returned to Baton Rouge where he re-entered his public service career and later, in 2009, his son Gabriel was born.
In the spring of 2013, he entered Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC) after being “pestered” for a year by his long time friend that he served with in the U.S. Navy, who was also a law enforcement officer in the Baton Rouge area. After his first semester at BRCC, he described himself as being “hooked” on academics, which changed his perspective toward his profession “for the better.” While at BRCC, he was invited to, and accepted membership into Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society. In April of 2015, the Louisiana Community &Technical Colleges, the Coca-Cola Foundations and Phi Theta Kappa selected him to the 2015 All-Louisiana Academic Team and also received the Louisiana State University Phi Theta Kappa Tiger Transfer Scholarship to LSU. Martinez was then selected to receive the New Century Scholars Scholarship Award sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, Phi Theta Kappa and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) where he represented the State of Louisiana in San Antonio, TX at the national AACC conference.
In May of 2015, Martinez graduated Summa Cum Laude from BRCC with an Associates of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. In the fall of 2015, Stephen entered LSU and began his coursework, declaring his major in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology. As of this semester, Stephen is in the second semester of his junior year, and was recently invited to, and accepted membership into the LSU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, where he expects to take an active role once inducted in March. In the meantime, Martinez, along with the First Year Experience Assistant Director, Ramon Lopez, is currently working together in conjunction with Phi Theta Kappa headquarters to establish the first Phi Theta Kappa Alumni Association on LSU’s campus. Here, they will serve as mentors for Phi Theta Kappa members who are preparing to transfer to LSU and to maintain a support system for them while maintaining the mission and priorities of the Phi Theta Kappa Society.
When asked how he maintains the balance between work, school and remaining motivated, Martinez stated:
“Determination, time management and my support group are the biggest key. I have an excellent support team consisting of my family, friends, co-workers, employers and educators, which help tremendously. They all want to see me succeed. My son, who is six years old, was in attendance when I received the LSU Phi Theta Kappa scholarship. When I returned to the table with my certificate, he looked at me and said that he wants to go to LSU, get a scholarship and be a Tiger too, with a proud look on his face. He is my biggest fan and source of motivation; so failure is not an option. Therefore I continue to work hard in managing my time wisely as a husband, father, public servant and student. It’s difficult and no one said it would be easy, but it can and will be done.”
Transfer Student Programs, a division of Student Life & Enrollment, is dedicated to helping transfer students succeed at LSU by offering resources and support. For more information, please visit lsu.edu/transfers.